What if you spent every day looking for One Beautiful Thing?

Dead Man’s Party


Susan Elnora

Minneapolis-based jewelry artist Susan Elnora makes skulls and skeletons cute. I know how ridiculous that sounds, but it’s completely true. Her work is all weirdly playful, and there’s something truly charming about it.

“I am drawn to imagery that reflects a connection to spirit, awareness, curiosity, and playfulness. My jewelry, while often stirring unique individual associations, also tends to point to our essential connectedness and a certain shared experience of the world.”

– About Susan Elnora

Elnora handcrafts all her pieces. She saws out her little shapes, smooths them with jeweler’s files, then adds them to her hand-carved pieces. Some of her jewelry also features responsibly-sourced gems, always used in perfect harmony with her whimsical little carvings and handcarved textures.

You can see all of Susan Elnora’s wonderful jewels on her website and on Instagram.

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For the past couple of weeks, thanks to a friend, I’ve been participating in a course about abundance based on guided meditations and lessons from Deepak Chopra. It’s been a powerful experience for me in many ways, helping me to find a daily meditation practice and to reflect on what abundance means to me, which is complex and multi-faceted. Over the years I’ve gone through several periods of putting focused energy and intention into various areas of my life, with surprisingly wonderful and sometimes almost magical results. I have shared stories with many of you about jewelry talismans serving as a reminder to center one’s intentions. (Did the golden unicorn actually lead me to the love of my life? Is it possible that wearing it daily helped me to stay mindful of the positive traits I desired in a partner, and open to recognizing him when he appeared? Is it an interesting coincidence that makes a fun story? This magic seems real to me regardless.) . This ring is one of the first designs I made for myself that was not for sale. It is meant to be a prosperity ring (an inspiring jeweler friend @saracommersprivatejeweler shared this with me years ago: it combines the number eight, the colors yellow and red, worn on the middle finger of your dominant hand). Wearing this ring puts me in a prosperous mindset, open to receiving and giving abundance. It helps me to visualize abundance as a constantly moving exchange of energy, which can flow easily and effortlessly if we allow it to. . The price of gold has been trending high, and will likely go higher still. This fall, my prices will go up to reflect this change (specifically gold; silver is also on the rise but I will try to hold off on that for now). If there is a special piece you’ve had your eye on, now is a great time to shop my in-stock pieces. It’s also a fine time to invest in a custom piece that reflects what you would like to manifest in your own life — I love collaborating on designs with personal meaning! We can make this world more beautiful together— in very small ways that can become exponentially larger with a bit of focused intention, a little help from the universe, and maybe a touch of magic.

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Several years ago I made a bat skeleton in response to the grief and horror I felt upon learning about white nose syndrome, which is a fungal disease spreading across North America killing millions of bats. I’ve been a bat lover for a long time. In addition to their valuable contributions to the ecosystem (pollination, controlling mosquito populations), bats are flying mammals that use echolocation to navigate, which makes them arguably the most badass residents of earth – plus they are so dang cute. I have zero ability to tolerate animal suffering of any kind; the idea of millions of bats dying by suffocation is the kind of thing that keeps me up at night. One of my favorite parts about art shows is getting to meet so many interesting people from all over the world, and a few years ago I was lucky enough to meet a bat researcher! She works for an amazing organization that advocates to preserve, protect, and restore imperiled species and their habitats (please check out @defendersofwildlife; it is truly inspiring work). She became a friend and collector of my work, and I could not have been more thrilled when she and her family commissioned me to make a new custom articulated bat skeleton this year at the Baltimore @craftcouncil show. I had no way of knowing at the time, that would turn out to be (most likely) my only show in 2020, and perhaps beyond. As with many people, the upheaval of the pandemic has derailed almost everything in our lives, not least of which has been my studio practice. The demands of children at home and moving across the country, underscored by constantly cycling anxiety and depression, have made it challenging for me to find the time, energy, or inspiration to make jewelry. With our attention turned to issues of police brutality and systemic racism, and conversations focused on our own roles and how we can best become allies, making jewelry just has not seemed very relevant or important. Until at last, recently, the bat began to beckon. *continued in comments*

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Author: Donna from MyOBT

I have committed to spending part of every day looking for at least one beautiful thing, and sharing what I find with you lovelies!

12 thoughts on “Dead Man’s Party

  1. I’m sending this to my niece who loves skulls.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hmmm…I do like the lantern

    Liked by 1 person

  3. That very first photo–is that one ring? A stack ring? I want it. I want them. All of them. Gorgeous stuff!!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. The goth in me adores all these designs (I was a goth waaaaay back in the day)!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I like the skeleton sea horse and the graveyard necklace. Interesting work.

    Liked by 1 person

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